Photo: Seated: Gary Biehn, Chairman, WTCGP and Dai Sheng Guo, Vice Chairman, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), Tianjin Sub-Council China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC), signing MOU on June 1, 2017
Standing from L to R: Samuel Chueh, Manager, International Business Investment, Department of Commerce, City of Philadelphia; Haibo Li, Winners; Lauren Swartz, Senior Director, International Business Investment, Department of Commerce, City of Philadelphia; Steven Bradley, President and CE0, Bradley and Bradley Associates; Fengling Wu, Director, CCPIT; Zhang Peng, Secretary General, WTC Tianjin; Liu Shanshan (Elsa), International Liaison Director, CCPIT, WTC Tianjin
It’s official! The World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia has signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding with World Trade Center of Tianjin China. Chairman, Gary Biehn traveled to Tianjin, China to sign the agreement on our behalf.
This is the power of the World Trade Center network!
We look forward to reporting many success stories!
Graziella DiNuzzo, WTCGP Director of Marketing and Communications, sat down with Chairman Gary Biehn to ask a few questions.
Why Tianjin, China?
Philadelphia and Tianjin share a long-standing tradition of business and cultural exchange dating back to the Sister City Agreement signed between Philadelphia and Tianjin in 1979. In June 2016, a delegation from Tianjin visited with WTCGP China Club members to explore opportunities for cooperation to expand trade and investment between Tianjin and the Binhai New Area and Greater Philadelphia. With the growing need for advanced medical care in China and the interest of Chinese students to attend U.S. colleges and universities, promising sectors identified included health (including medical tourism) and higher education, both strengths of the Greater Philadelphia Region. In addition, Tianjin delegation officials agreed to assist WTCGP member companies in accessing and facilitating business connections and opportunities in Tianjin. Vice Chairman of WTC Tianjin, Zhang Tiejun concluded the meeting by extending a personal invitation to the City and Greater Philadelphia Region to visit Tianjin and the Binhai New Area. This included the possibility of a 2017 trade mission to Sister City, Tianjin, organized by the City of Philadelphia.
Which members of the City of Philadelphia Trade Mission to Tianjin accompanied you to the signing?
The City of Philadelphia Commerce Department: Lauren Swartz, Senior Director of International Investment and
Samuel Chueh, Director of International Investment
Citizens Diplomacy International: Siobhan Lyons, President and CEO
Bradley and Bradley Insurance: Steven Bradley, President and CEO and WTCGP Board Member
What does the MOU represent for WTCGP members and clients?
The World Trade Center, Tianjin (WTCT) will serve as a gateway to the Tianjin and China marketplace for WTCGP members and client companies by connecting its member companies with WTCGP clients and members. Particular focus for business to business collaboration will be in the fields of: healthcare, higher education, legal services, food industry, aviation, petrochemicals, automobiles, metalworking and medical device sector.
What does the business landscape look like in Tianjin?
Located in the Northern Coast of China, Tianjin is the fourth largest municipality with a total population of more than 15 million people. Tianjin is a hub city for international shipping and logistics, manufacturing and research and development. Created in 2009, Tianjin Binhai New Area was designated by the Chinese government as a special Free Trade Zone. Binhai has an international seaport, and an international airport and is a 33-minute high-speed train ride from Beijing. There are 141 Global 500 companies with operations in the Binhai New Area.
As Partner and Chair of China Business Group and International Group for White and Williams, LLP, how do you view the potential for Greater Philadelphia businesses in the Chinese market?
Over the past fifteen years, I have traveled to China on a regular basis, and have visited Tianjin on many occasions dating back to 2002. The economic development in Tianjin is extraordinary. Through the assistance of CDI and our Sister City program, White and Williams maintains a strong strategic alliance with Tianjin-based Winners Law Firm, now dating back seven years. This is the type of cooperation we envision between member companies of the WTCGP and Tianjin WTC. We had very productive conversations with the leadership of the Tianjin WTC during our June 1st meetings and we are working on several pilot business opportunities between our respective members. With the strong Sister City relationship between Philadelphia and Tianjin, it is quite fitting that the WTCGP is moving forward in strengthening the business relationship with Tianjin WTC. We are optimistic that this will lead to further commercial opportunities for the Greater Philadelphia region.